Parents turning blind eye to gang activity fearing rent will not be paid – senator
Some parents are turning a blind eye to gangland activity in their own homes for fear of not getting their rent paid, a senator has said.
Robin Tucker also questioned why Bermuda had a national space plan, but not a national plan to deal with gun culture.
Ms Tucker, who told the Upper House there had been 72 murders on the island in the past 20 years, said that Bermuda was in a state of crisis.
The One Bermuda Alliance senator said that she agreed with national security minister Michael Weeks that the island could not police its way out of the problem, as she called for families and communities to do more.
In an at times emotional plea for change following a surge in gun murders and gang crime, Ms Tucker called for parents to report their children to the police if they knew they were engaged in illegality.
Speaking yesterday, she said: “Unfortunately, we have some parents, who are supposed to protect them, and look after them, and care for them, look the other way when they see illicit activities going on in their households because to say anything might mean the rent doesn’t get paid.
“If you know, or suspect that they are involved in criminal activity, do something about it.
“Even if you have to turn them in to get them help.
“Whatever you do, don’t turn a blind eye. Recently there were three incidents reported in one day – unheard of for Bermuda.
“Our young Black males are killing each other. At what point do we consider all this violence that we are seeing as a crisis?
“At what point do we as a community declare a state of emergency?
“I want to remind my Black community that we can’t blame this one on White people killing us. We are doing it to ourselves.”
Stressing the problem also impacted the White community, Ms Tucker added: “I am tired of hearing about young Black males getting killed or injured.
“I am tired of hearing they are being arrested for committing these acts as well.”
Ms Tucker insisted a new strategy was needed.
She said: “We have had 72 murders in 20 years – which is astounding for our little country.
“This community is spiralling further out of control, and further into a cycle of violence.
“We have a national tourism plan, we have an intellectual disabilities national plan, but where is the national plan for addressing violence in Bermuda?”
Ms Tucker said the rate of gun crime was impacting on the island’s international image as a tranquil place to visit.
“People are just not feeling safe, sadly it’s topping their list of concerns,” she claimed.
“This is not only a problem for residents, but our reputation as a safe place to visit is also being impacted.”
Lindsay Simmons, a PLP senator, also raised the issue of gun violence, and defended the Government’s record.
She said minister Weeks was “developing a comprehensive, multi-agency national strategic plan to mitigate not only violence, but drug trafficking, because this all plays a part”.
She said: “This is not just a government problem, it’s a community problem.
“We all have a part to play, and let’s all stand up and do better. We have a lot of work to do.”
Ms Simmons called on anyone seeing illegal activity to contact the authorities, or their MP.
She said: “Staying quiet is not an option any more – we are at war with our own.”